Poll: Americans Don’t Want to Ban Trans Fats, Energy Drinks, E-Cigarettes, Online Poker, Violent Video Games or Genetic Testing Kits

The American people do not want to be nannied.

The new Reason-Rupe poll finds that Americans oppose banning a number of items governments have been working to prohibit.

The federal government recently proposed rules that would effectively ban trans fats, but 71 percent of Americans say they should be allowed to buy foods with trans fats if they so choose. Just under a quarter, 24 percent of Americans, say foods with trans fats should not be allowed.

The Food and Drug Administration recently ordered a genetic testing company to stop selling its DNA tests. Reason-Rupe finds 55 percent of Americans believe they should be allowed to buy genetic testing kits that provide information about a person’s DNA, 37 percent say these should not be allowed.

Over three quarters of Americans, 76 percent, say they should be allowed to buy high-caffeine energy drinks. Twenty-one percent think energy drinks should be prohibited.

Several cities have moved to ban e-cigarettes in public places, but 62 percent of Americans say electronic cigarettes should be allowed in public spaces. Thirty-four percent favor prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes in public.

Congress is considering a bill that would legalize online poker and 65 percent of Americans tell Reason-Rupe that adults should be allowed to gamble in online poker games. Thirty-two percent oppose allowing people to play online poker.

Two-thirds of Americans, 66 percent, tell Reason-Rupe that people should be allowed to play violent video games, while 31 percent want them banned.

The one item Reason-Rupe asked about that the public wants to ban is printing 3D guns. Six in 10 Americans think printing working 3D guns should be prohibited, while 30 percent say it should be allowed.

Full Poll

The full poll is online here and additional Reason-Rupe poll resources are available here. Sign up for notifications of new releases of the Reason-Rupe poll here. This is the latest in a series of Reason-Rupe public opinion surveys dedicated to exploring what Americans really think about government and major issues.  This Reason Foundation project is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation.

The Reason-Rupe poll conducted live interviews with 1,011 adults on mobile (506) and landline (505) phones from December 4-8, 2013. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 3.7 percent. Princeton Survey Research Associates International executed the nationwide Reason-Rupe survey.

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  • ||

    The American people do not want to be nannied.

    See how stupid we are? So stupid as to not know that we need the help we don't want, ergo we shall have it.

  • Mr Whipple||

    The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.

    H. L. Mencken

  • ||

    This can't be repeated enough.

  • Ebriosa||

    Ok, yeah, so, what DO they want to ban, then? There's gotta be something!

  • SweatingGin||

    Can we ban banning things?

  • SweatingGin||

    Can we ban banning things?

  • SweatingGin||

    Can we ban banning things?

  • UnCivilServant||

    Not even if you ask three times.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||


  • EDG reppin' LBC||


  • Jeff||

    They want to ban 3D printers from printing certain things.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Printing poll results?

  • ||

    Again with the polls?

  • ||

    Maybe they're hoping they can bludgeon us with sheer volume into thinking these polls are anything other than pure bullshit.

  • RBS||

    Yeah, I've been busy this week but every time I check on H&R there is some poll.

  • UnCivilServant||

    We can allow online poker, but as a trade off we have to ban online violent video games. The violence should remain within the user's own home.

  • UnCivilServant||



  • ||

    The gun thing is depressing.

  • Donut-san||

    Especially considering the short-sighted thinking behind it. How many criminals are going to buy an expensive 3D printer, just so they can print a bulky, plastic gun that fires at most a few shots before it falls apart.

  • ||

    Contract killers?

    I imagine the quality of printed firearms will continue to increase, though.

  • Donut-san||

    True, but I think it was always be easier for criminals just to get a regular gun some other way, rather than printing one.

  • ||

    But will THOSE guns be "silent but deadly" like the plastic ones?!

  • ||

    They are machined guns.....not farts.

  • Doctor Whom||

    We all know how this works. When a majority wants to restrict freedom, democracy is sacred. When a majority wants to expand freedom or even to hold onto the freedom that we have, some things are more important than the whims of the howling mob.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Yeah, the fat that 20 to 40 percent of the respondents want to ban any of these items is pretty depressing. I would be interested to see which respondents wanted to ban which items, or did they generally want to ban every item? If so, at least 20 percent of the population are poo-butts.

  • ||


    30+% want to have the government prohibit people from playing VIDEO GAMES they don't like. That is really really disheartening.

    But hey, America is having a libertarian moment, so we she shouldn't let this bother us, right?

  • Loki||

    60% percent want to ban 3-D printed guns. I wonder if that's the same 60% percent who also think arming TSA screeners is a swell idea?

  • entropy||

    According to this poll at least a solid third of Americans are nazis who want to ban literally everything.

  • ||

    Eh, it's probably not the same 30%, everyone's ban boner is different.

  • wolfpackarmy||

    What's worrying is how many people want each of those things banned. Nearly a third want to ban violent video games and online gambling? 37% want to ban genetic testing kits? That doesn't sound positive to me, especially considering how much noise a vocal minority can make.

  • BoscoH||

    You could replace this poll with a single question and then derive the rest of the results based simply on the difficulty of actually banning them. The question:

    How stupid are you?

    If we average 90% stupid, then ban 3D printed handguns. If we average 10% stupid, then ban energy drinks. Order the middle questions accordingly.

  • ||

    Your a Maroon....

  • ||

    Idiots...so, if I want to use a eCig as part of my changing my nasty harmful smoking habit, I won't be able to. But it will be ok to go online and gamble away the house and savings? How dastardly clever they are. Morons.

  • ||

    ......one ONE person complains about a nativity scene outside an Air Force base, and it's taken down within two hours. 90 people call to protest the act, and are told wa wa waaa waa waaaa wa wa!


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